The graceful arc of the ecliptic

The ecliptic is the path of the sun across our sky, and also of the moon and planets. This photo illustrates it beautifully.

Image via Karthik Easvur

Moon and planets on October 12 by Karthik Easvur.

Karthik Easvur in Hyderabad, India captured the moon on the sky’s dome on October 12, 2016. And he also caught the three planets that currently grace our evening sky: Mars, Saturn and Venus. This photo isn’t just beautiful. It’s also illustrative of one of astronomy’s most basic concepts, that of the ecliptic, or sun’s path.

The fact is, we live in a solar system where all the major planets orbit the sun on a nearly flat plane. That’s why – when we look up into the night sky – we see the planets travel more or less the same path that the sun takes during the day. The moon, also, follows this path.

Thus you can always look for planets along the sun’s path.

Read more: What is the ecliptic?

Deborah Byrd